FAQs - Copyright & Licensing

Question? We've Got Answers

  • Why do I need to fill out an IPR form?

    The Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) form is necessary for declaring ownership of the material to be replicated.  In an effort to protect the rights of people who create software and music recordings, our manufacturing facility participates in the Content Delivery & Storage Association (CDSA) Anti-Piracy Compliance Program, which protects copyright owners from unauthorized reproduction of their property.  With the help of this program, we help protect your intellectual property rights and those of the owners of any third-party material you use on your project.

    While it may be time-consuming, IPR procedures are essential for protecting the rights of everyone involved in creating digital media.  We simply cannot replicate your discs unless you prove ownership of all copyrighted material.

  • Someone else wrote the song, but I performed it.  Who owns the IPR?

    IPR refers to the performance of the material, so you own the Intellectual Property Rights.  However, you will need to obtain a mechanical license from the writer which grants you the permission to use the song.

  • Will my order be cancelled if it doesn’t comply with IPR requirements?

    Not necessarily – but it will probably be delayed! We will explain the issue to you and let you know what is needed in order to bring your project into compliance so that we can proceed with your order. If you are unable to make the necessary changes, or if we do not receive the required materials, your master will be returned to you and your order will be canceled.  Note that you will be charged for any work done on your project up to the time of cancellation.

  • Why do I have to have licensing for cover songs? Where do I get it?

    A cover song is a song that has been written by someone other than yourself.  By law, we cannot replicate any copyrighted recording without the proper clearances.  You can get online mechanical licensing for most works via the Harry Fox Agency.  If you cannot find your title there, we suggest you then contact the appropriate performing rights society or the publisher to obtain permission.

  • Do I need to re-purchase licensing for reorders?

    Maybe. If you paid the royalties for the number of copies you manufactured in your original order, then additional licensing will be required for a reorder. However, if you paid royalties for more copies than you manufactured, you can use the remainder on a later order. The Harry Fox Agency website will allow you to purchase licensing for a maximum of 2,500 copies at one time. For higher quantities, you should contact the copyright holder directly.

  • I have samples on my recording.  Is that OK?

    If your master has any type of sampling of any length, you must purchase master use licensing from the copyright owner and include proof of that purchase when you submit your project to us. This applies to samples of movies, TV shows, commercials, video clips or music of any kind. The owner will most likely require information about the number of discs you are producing and the countries in which you will be distributing.

  • My product is for promotion only. Do I still need licensing?

    Yes. If you are manufacturing and distributing copies of a song which you did not write, and you have not already reached an agreement with the song’s publisher, you still need to obtain a mechanical license. This is required under U.S. Copyright Law, regardless of whether or not you are selling the copies that you make.

  • What is a compilation?

    A compilation is a collection of tracks performed by different artists.  This means that there are multiple IPR owners on the recording.  In order to replicate the disc, you must have each artist fill out and sign an Audio Replication Agreement , which will grant you permission for manufacturing.  Note that if any of these works are cover songs, you will also have to obtain mechanical licensing.

  • What is the public domain?

    The public domain is that body of work that is unprotected by copyright and is available for everyone to use. Creative works enter the public domain when the term of copyright protection ends. Over the past 100 years, the duration of copyright protection has been increased numerous times. Under current law, any song composed and published before 1923 is in the public domain, but more recent works are likely protected by copyright.

    Currently, the latest copyright date that qualifies a piece of music as being in the public domain is 1922.  However, as a result of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, no new works will enter the public domain until January 2019. 

  • How can I tell if a song is in the public domain?

    If you are not sure if the song you are looking to license is in the public domain, we suggest you do a search at the PD Info Website.  Another useful tool is the Copyright Term Calculator.

  • What is a “traditional” song?

    Traditional songs are considered public domain. Usually these are songs whose origins are unknown and cannot be traced to any specific author or composer, therefore licensing is not required.

  • What is SoundScan?

    Nielsen SoundScan is an information system that tracks sales of music and music video products throughout the United States and Canada. Sales data is collected weekly from over 14,000 retail, mass merchant and non-traditional (on-line stores, venues, etc.) outlets. It is also the the sales source for the Billboard music charts.


  • How do I register my CD with SoundScan?

    SoundScan can only track sales on CDs that have a UPC bar code.  Once you receive your bar code number (either from the UCC or from GrooveHouse) you must register it with SoundScan to ensure you are properly credited for all sales.

    To register, you need to fill out a Title Addition Sheet and fax it to SoundScan at (914) 684-5606 or email it to dbase@soundscan.com. You’ll need a separate form for each release. Once a title is submitted to SoundScan, it can take up to 10-15 business days for it to be entered into their system. Once entered, the title has the ability to be tracked by SoundScan.

    For more information, visit the Nielsen SoundScan website.

  • How do I find out if a title has been registered with SoundScan?

    You may email clientservices@soundscan.com (be sure to include your full UPC code) or call them at (914) 684-5525.

  • Is there a way to get royalties when my music is played online?

    The best way is to become a member of Sound Exchange - an independent, nonprofit performance rights organization.  Sound Exchange was designated by the U.S. Copyright Office to collect and distribute digital performance royalties for featured recording artists and sound recording copyright owners when their sound recordings are performed on digital cable and satellite television music, internet and satellite radio (such as XM Sirius).

  • Can I use the FBI Anti-Piracy warning seal in my artwork?

    Since August 2006, the FBI has authorized use of the FBI Anti-Piracy seal and warning by members of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), subject to each member entering into a formal Uniform Authorization Agreement.

    If you are NOT a member of any of the above agencies, then it is illegal to use the FBI logo in your artwork.  However, you may use the following generic language on your product: “Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.”

    For more information, go to the FBI website.